by Aaron Coleman

                                 inhale, hold, exhale

Memory is my wristwatch
The sun is the top button of my shirt
Today I sacrifice myself to brightness

Today I am morning made
Only, already, always, anyway
Another interval before and after night

Copper and clear blue, a blot rising
In the face of all of this
I hereby swear by the mundane beautiful—

Night is my wristwatch
The sun is the top button of my memory
I sacrifice my morning to brightness

Today I am hereby today
Anyway, always, already, only
Another blue interval, clear before and after

All this blot the shirt of myself made
I swear the mundane beautiful is
Rising in the copper of my face—


Writing Prompt

The inhale: Write 3 stanzas of three lines (9 lines total) that speak to you as a healing routine, meditation, or affirmation.

The exhale: Write 3 additional stanzas of 3 lines (9 more lines) that rearrange the words and phrases from your first 9 lines, exploring all the hidden and unexpected opportunities in your own language.


Aaron Coleman is the author of Threat Come Close (Four Way Books, 2018) winner of the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award, and St. Trigger (Button, 2016), selected by Adrian Matejka for the Button Poetry Chapbook Prize. A Fulbright Scholar and Cave Canem Fellow from Metro-Detroit, Aaron has lived and worked with youth in locations including Spain, South Africa, Chicago, St. Louis, and Kalamazoo. His poems and essays have appeared in publications including Boston Review, Callaloo, New York Times Magazine, the Poetry Society of America, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series. Aaron is currently a PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature with a concentration in Translation Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, where his research focuses on the role of translation in vivifying the relationships between poets of the African Diaspora in the Americas.

2/2 Current Exhibition

On Earth